Today I decided to jump in the car. It is a gloriously sunny day, a rare thing in my neck of the woods during the winter. So I opted to indulge myself and grab a chai soy latte from Starbucks. A big no no, really. SO many naughty ingredients for infertile women…especially caffeine and soy….things you are to avoid when trying to conceive. But once in awhile, I justify it to myself and grab one.
But today, I realized there was another reason I was in the car.
Focus on the Family was on…Abortion was the topic. This week marks the 39th year since legislation for legalizing abortion was made in the United States. Roe vs Wade. Their program was focused on women who are “post-abortive”. One lady was sharing her redemption story. Abortion ravaged her life, but God’s grace proved more powerful and has delivered her into an amazing ministry of helping women in the same place as she once was find healing and forgiveness.
The topic of abortion always hits home for me. I have seen it first hand. I hate that I can even say that. Hate that I have witnessed it, some might even say participated in its outcome.
I am pro-life. I believe that human life begins at conception. A caveat, yes, but necessary for me to say before I proceed.
When I was rotating through clinicals, I often came face to face with mothers who were choosing abortion. For some, it was their answer to an unexpected pregnancy, for others genetic abnormalities led them to choose to abort rather than deal with the hardship of raising a child with special needs. Still others chose abortion as a means of birth control. This is NO joke.
I’ll never forget the chilly fall day I was in the pre-operative holding area preparing a patient for a hernia repair. Next to me was another patient. She was there for an abortion. I remember the OB/GYNs approaching her in the preop area, pleading with her to allow them to tie her tubes or insert an IUD. If anything, would she PLEASE consider taking birth control pills? She was having her 5th abortion. She was 18 years old. I remember the way she began laughing out load, almost uncontrollably…she turned to her boyfriend and said, “Can you believe it? Why would we want to go on birth control when this works just fine? How stupid.” Even more sad was hearing other providers later comment that the baby was probably better off dead than in the arms of this mother.
WOW. Wow. Wow. Did you really just say that? Did I really just hear that?
I couldn’t believe the words spoken from her mouth. This was inner city Philadelphia and this particular hospital was smack dab in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods anywhere. Murder, rape, single parent homes, drugs, gang violence, abortion, poverty…these things defined normalcy in this area. Security escorted us from the parking garage to the hospital each morning and evening. The lower floors of the parking garage had bullet proof glass covering its openings. This was a dangerous part of the city. SURVIVAL is at a premium.
Why would anyone want to possibly be bothered with birth control when they could receive free abortions at the hospital whenever they wanted? It was evident that these were the words of a broken woman who had been hurt time and time again. As a result, her heart was left hardened to the life growing inside of her. All she can think about is surviving, getting through the evening at home with her abusive boyfriend, where dinner would come from and how she would get her next high. Abortion would take care of her dilemma about the baby inside her womb, the baby she knew she couldn’t care for. The baby she didn’t want to care for.
As a student, I had to learn how to do anesthesia for everything. From cardiac bypasses to epidurals for laboring women to brain surgery. We have a checklist and a certain number of each of these different case types are required to graduate. My stomach is sick just thinking about it – but I’ll never forget the day I was assigned to provide anesthesia for an abortion. Today, at my current job, I am able to opt out. Then, as a brand new student and scared out of my mind, my desire to please and be liked by the staff lead me to be complacent and just go with the flow…my own survival technique…just get through the day.
My staff helped me get the woman relaxed and we slowly got her “deeper” (meaning more sedated). Soon she was unconscious and the procedure began. I will never forget watching the surgeon as he asked for the instruments to signal our official “start” time. The vacuum suction was turned on and slowly he cut the baby up inside the women. The beautiful life was destroyed and piece by piece was suctioned out. I remember seeing the vertebrae and spinal cord, almost completely intact…white and shiny…stripped of its ligaments. And then part of an arm. Completely horrifying. This women was pretty far along…she was close to 20 weeks. The miracle of God…human life…was eliminated from her body organ by organ. It chills me to think about it…I can’t believe I watched this. Can’t believe I participated in the care of this woman in that way. I am ashamed. What about the Hippocratic oath? Do no harm. How do we justify this legalized murder?
I know I am forgiven, but I am forever left with the scars of those fateful images. I carry a legacy of hope to women. Hope that there is a better option. Hope that they will be given the correct facts about an abortion and its potential consequences upon your life and emotional well-being.
And you see, these women are just like you and me. They are hurting, broken people…just like you and me. They need God’s mercy to cover them and his love to bind their wounds. I am grateful for organizations like Focus on the Family who are willing to speak out and offer hope, grace and forgiveness to these women, nurturing them as an extension of the healing arm of God.
I’m really not sure I can say much else. I’m not even sure I want to post this. Clearly, I have. I thank you for reading this. I am not trying to push any sort of a political agenda. I am just conveying raw emotions and personal reflections of a topic that is ever pertinent today. It’s hard to be honest about my failures in this life. Though this blog of mine is largely anonymous, sometimes I still find it difficult to be real and just let it flow. But today, I feel emboldened by the power of God’s love for me and I want to share. I know he will use my story to bless people’s life just as he has blessed mine.